Furnishing whole house

jwalker678March 22, 2014

I also posted on the furniture forum.
I am planning to buy a vacation home in Fla, 3br/2,000sf and will need to completely furnish. I have bought furniture online (Lexington) and comfortable doing that but would need design help for a whole house project. Would it make sense to go to someplace like Furniture Land, use one of their designers and order everything from them. Would this be the most cost effective way? Is there a best time of year to order furniture?

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I'm not familiar with Furniture Land, but I am familiar with Florida. I lived in there in my single days , and my parents had a Winter home there for 30 years, until last April. If it were me, I'd look for everything but mattresses at estate sales, garage sales, consignment shops and auctions. I 've found many, many wonderful, high quality pieces there for my home.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 2:48PM
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    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Lynne has the plan. Estate sales.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 3:56PM
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I'm with Lynn. Everything doesn't have to be new to furnish a home. Mixing some old with the new give more personality and uniqueness, and not so furniture store-like. I wouldn't do it any other way. ;)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:02PM
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Craigslist, especially for case goods like dressers, headboards, dining tables, etc., is an excellent way to furnish a second (or even a primary) residence.

I agree that mattresses need to be purchased new. Although many see no issue with it, I also draw the line on buying any upholstered goods on Craigslist. I just can't do it unless the piece is going to be totally re-upholstered.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:13PM
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Hadn't bought about estate sales but sounds like a good idea. Ikea is also something I will check out. Have only been to one of their stores once but seem to have just about everything.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:18PM
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I furnished my home mostly via CL. Mattresses and sofa are new - can't imagine buying used either, unless, as the other commenter said, the sofa is going to be completely re-upholstered. Antique furniture was made MUCH better than is furniture nowadays. Issue is the cost to refurbish, if necessary. I bought all of my lamps on CL and eBay. All of my cookware I buy on CL.

Ikea, though, has very functional stuff, and fun stuff (great for a vacation home) at very low prices.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 4:32PM
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If you have the time, estate sales and consignment shops would offer you the best buys, especially in a state with a transient population. However, if this is your vacation home, you may not have the desire to spend your time there driving from sale to sale on the chance that you'll find the right pieces. (Or, you may find that the perfect way to spend your vacation!)

If not, then research local furniture stores that carry brands that you like and meet with their designers. A friend of mine did this with a second home she bought in another state. She and the designer worked via email, text, etc., to decide on each room. The next time she visited her home, viola!--it was furnished all except her personal items that she added.

The cost-effectiveness of each approach depends largely upon the time you have to invest in this.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 7:28PM
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Where in Florida?

If you are in a hurry, most of the major cities have consignment shops where you might be able to find a lot of what you need in one place.


    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 7:45PM
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Furnishing an entire house via Craigslist would take forever. It sounds like your goal is a completely furnished, turnkey vacation home, and if that's what you wnt your original plan sounds good.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 8:23PM
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Holly- Kay

I agree that estate sales, craigslist, and consignment shops are a wonderful way to furnish a secondary home. Actually it's a great way to buy many things for your primary home. We furnished our secondary home from primarily those venues.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 8:29PM
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Best time to buy furniture is at the once or twice a year sales many (most?) have. I have bought at post-Christmas sales. If you ask the store they should tell you when their sales are.

Furnishing a second home does not have to be an all or nothing situation. You could buy new upholstered furniture, beds, appliances, and enough casegoods to make the home habitable and add other items over time. We've done that a couple of times and it can create some fun experiences looking for items such as art and accessories in galleries, quirky little shops, or second hand venues.

IMO ordering everything from one store using their decorator is likely to produce a show-home look with little of your personality. Not for me, but some people are comfortable with this.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Our vacation home will be in Sarasota. Thanks to everyone for your input. I will use a combination of sources and will check out the Ikea store in Tampa.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:37AM
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A friend who has winter homes in Tampa and in Miami and has furnished her 2 winter homes and their primary home from flea markets, antique auctions and yard/tag sales in Florida. She is a decorator.

Remember those areas are flooded with furniture because most people who buy vacation homes are from the NE and, they are an elderly, aging population. When they die, their heirs choose not to pay the shipping/freight back to their primary or their own homes because they already have furnished homes and they sell their wares at tag sales/flea markets to avoid the shipping back to the NE and having to pay storage on a place to store it there.

Otherwise, many people who buy second homes there, take their furniture, only to realize once they get there that it looks too heavy or NE historical for the warm climate there and they end up selling it.

She has a lovely first home and winter homes, and has purchased more than 2000 pieces of white china/porcelain that she displays or uses in the 3 homes. Her 2 daughters will inherit these homes upon their deaths, so she still keeps things up to date and beautiful.

She redecorates their primary home about every 4 years and has done so by using flea markets, antique stores, tag sales in Florida. Their home in Atlanta looks like a showcase and much of came from antique sales, flea markets, tag sales in Florida.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 12:11PM
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It depends on your budget, time constraints and how you like to spend your time. I would probably try to work with a local furniture store to get the bare minimum basics in place, ie sofa, beds, table and chairs to eat at.

Then I would look at consignment stores, ikea flea markets, etc to fill in the rest.

But I like flea markets and I like looking for furniture.

If you don't, and you have the money, I see nothing wrong with going more turn key and getting most or all of the furniture from a local store that can come and measure and provide and coordinate it all. I prefer a less matchy matchy look and it would be harder to achieve that collected look with this method, but it would be very nice to get have the place done so you can enjoy it. And you can personalize it over time with local art, etc.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 1:42PM
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As a Floridian, I would try thrifts before consignments. At least in my part of FL, the prices in the average consignment are about what it would cost to buy the same thing brand new--totally unrealistic and they don't seem to care if their stock sits for months and months. Back in 2006 I looked at some second-hand but newer wheel back Sheraton chairs that I could have purchased new for about $250 a chair. The ones in the consignment were $299 each for the exact same chair, only used. Those chairs are still in the consignment shop today--price still not negotiable.

But when relatives come to clear out, unless the stuff is really valuable, they tend to donate to places like the Salvation Army, etc. (any charity that has a store), just to get it out fast. Those can be a goldmine. The stuff in consignments is mostly placed there by living owners who want more money than they could get on CL or the like.

EDIT I never heard of Furniture Land, either. Where is that?

This post was edited by writersblock on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 14:25

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 2:24PM
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Try antique stores also. Not everything is 'old' antique, there are lots of vintage things from every era. I've already posted re:mixing new with older, but wanted to clarify that antiques qualify as used. It gives a pleasant look to a house or room when everything isn't identical in style. Adding a few painted pieces works in beautifully also.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 6:58PM
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